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Model behavior

Old 12-10-2007, 05:05 AM
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Default Model behavior

I know we have a large population of collectors amongst us. Thought this would be right of your allies!

[quote] Business
December 10, 2007

Model behavior
Budding chain RideMakerz lets car aficionados of all ages craft customized miniature versions of their favorite vehicles

When Katie Phares walked into Castleton Square Mall, she didn't know she would walk out a master mechanic.

In the details: Customers at Ridemakerz in Castleton Square Mall can pair music, remote-control chips, decals, lights and customized license plates with their models. -

One experience at RideMakerz -- a retail concept that allows customers to build their own model cars -- and she was an auto pro.
She tricked out a red Dodge Ram truck, drilled the chassis in, added rims and some funky flashing lights. Her certificate of title to the car crowned her a master mechanic.
"This is so much fun," said the Greenfield resident, who made the truck for her boyfriend, a replica of the ride he drives. "When I heard about this, I thought, 'Oh, I gotta do this.' "
Customers who find themselves inside the RideMakerz store, one of just four in the nation, can't get enough. The doors opened two weeks ago, and everyone from men in business suits to preteen girls is souping up vehicles.
"I've not seen a person come in here building a car who doesn't have a smile on their face," said Pat Finnegan, a member of the crew.
The concept is a sister to the popular Build-A-Bear Workshop, which is an investor and partner in RideMakerz.
Shoppers at RideMakerz have plenty of models to choose from: Mustangs, Mini Coopers, pink sports cars, firetrucks, Dodge Challengers and more. Customers then head off to seven stations to complete their rides. They can pick sounds like rock music, add a remote- control chip, stick on decals, and add lights and customized license plates.
The average ride costs $60 to $75. But crew chief (manager) Marilyn Kolthoff has seen customers work for hours on their cars, in the end spending as much as $130.
"Customers are loving it," she said, "because they actually have their own marks on it. When they are done, it is their creation."
The concept is the brainchild of Larry Andreini, chief executive officer. About two years ago, he was looking to find a product specifically for boys that could be built in-store.
"There's this whole car customizing movement. And you've got the icon of childhood -- a toy car," he said. "Couldn't you have the same fun with a toy car as a stuffed animal?"
Casey Alexander thinks so.
"This is like the coolest thing ever," said the Carmel mother of a 10-year-old son and two daughters. "I'm going to buy him a body for Christmas and then let him come in and trick it out."
Alexander was drawn to the store for her son after years of going to the American Girl store in Chicago to buy dolls for her daughters.
"My boy has sat on that red couch in Chicago for years," she said. "This is a long time coming for him."
RideMakerz is part of a growing retail segment known as an "entertainment experience." That means not just purchasing a product off the shelf, but having fun making it.

A growing trend
Many retailers are getting in on the action. Sephora lets you design a personal fragrance. Levi's lets customers do personal-fit jeans. And Nike allows shoppers to design personal shoes online.
"These are considered traditional retailers with an important trend twist," said Richard Feinberg, retail professor at Purdue University. "This is one-to-one retailing. If a retailer can provide a product that the consumer designs and is personalized to them, they have a competitive advantage in the marketplace."
RideMakerz opened its first store in May in Myrtle Beach, S.C., then another in the Mall of America in Minnesota. The third is in Virginia.
Then on

~) 69.5 SuperBee

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